Evidence of clandestine laboratory activity in West Africa

UNODC--Dakar, Senegal, July 31 st , 2009. At the request of the authorities of Guinea to the UN Resident Coordinator, UNODC and Interpol in close consultation with the UNSG Special Representative for West Africa, undertook a fact-finding expert mission aimed at investigating the large quantities of chemicals that were seized on July 15th, 2009 by the armed forces of Guinea at several locations of Conakry.

The Expert assessments have confirmed the that quantities and nature of the chemicals found at the locations visited are far in excess of the legitimate demands in Guinea that some of these substances are precursors chemical for controlled drugs such as ecstasy (MDMA) and also solvents commonly used in the processing of cocaine and heroin. Most significantly, high pressure reaction vessels and sassafras oil, used in the manufacture of ecstasy were found in at least two locations.

The Government of Guinea, the UN and Interpol are concerned by the fact that the clandestine production of controlled drugs might be widespread in Guinea. For the first time in the West Africa sub region, the UN has provided the best evidence yet for clandestine laboratory activity.

One of the sites visited by UNODC-Interpol mission contained a laboratory for the production of counterfeit antibiotics.

Whereas, the Government initially requested investigation on two (2) sites, a total of six locations containing chemicals were visited by the Experts. The proximity of some of these locations to the local population poses a danger to health. Several persons have already been arrested by the Government of Guinea.

The UN, Interpol and the international community are currently engaged in a consultation with the Government of Guinea in order to assist in the appropriate disposal of these dangerous substances. UNODC-Interpol mission also recommends that pending the process of disposal, the Government should keep the seizure sites safe by avoiding direct contact with the chemical by the population.

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For more information, please contact Theophane PATINVOH (Theophane.patinvoh@unodc.org) Cell: +221 77 636 19 11

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